The 2022 D14 National Semi Final would see a flat lake on day 1; something rare on the Great Lakes and appreciated by the 44 boaters who got knocked around during 2 of the 3 practice days. At 6:45am most of the field took advantage of the flat water and headed out into Lake Erie looking for those 6 plus pound smallmouth but a few would remain in the bay for the mixed bite. Weigh in started at 2:45 with a lot of 1 and 2 fish bags along with the stories of 20, 30 even 40 fish being caught during the day but all under the 15in length limit. Only 4 limits on the angler side and 2 limits on the coangler side would be brought in. The first 4 fish limit would be brought in by PA State Champion Zack Borger but 4 largemouth weighing 8.95lbs was quickly erased by Brad Bodnicki (NY) who would be the 1st leader (angler) at 13.18 but that would not stand long when Steven Call would bring limit #3 to the scales at 16.45 anchored by a 5.17 smallie which would put him in 1st for big fish as well. Dave Wilt on the coangler side would be 1 of 2 coanglers to weigh in a limit and would end up in 1st with 4 greenies for 10.03. The coangler side would see 4 lead changes for big fish though starting at 4.01 but near the end of the day Jason Cavanaugh would bring 2 fish to the scales with one of them a 5.17 smallie sealing big fish for the day. A few moments later Steve would find out that his 16lb bag would not keep him in 1st when Bob Brody, last boat out, arrived with 4 fish weighing 18.20 and the days big fish of 5.56. With the field being flipped for day 2, the day 1 leader will be first boat out.
Day 2 would start out completely different. A sustained 10-15mph wind had started during the night and in the darkness you could hear the waves slapping the seawalls. Bob Brody would tell me where his keys were hidden and I knew he was going to take that ride again and go for broke. With only a 2lb lead and 1 boat short of being able to send 2 boats to the National Championship, 2nd place sits at home wondering what else could have been done. Bob made the long run but it was not to be with only 2 fish for 5.96. The door was now open for Steve Call but he would blank so it would turn out that 3rd place Brad Brodnicki (NY) who was 5lbs out would stick a 5 pounder and bring 2 others with it for a second solid day of 11.81lbs giving him the WIN by 0.83lbs over Brody. On the coangler side day one leader, by only ¾ of a pound, Dave Wilt would bring in only 2 for 4.11 only to watch Joe Pacholec Jr double his weight with 4 fish weighing 8.22lbs and taking the win by more than 3lbs; earning his second trip to the Nationals. Big fish for the day was angler Larry Foor 5.04 and coangler Roland Gittings at 5.72 which would be the biggest of the event.
In all, 550lbs of bass would cross the scale and a special note of thanks to all of the anglers who released 201 out of the 205 bass caught. Thank you.
Thank you to Harley Mills with helping out with the day 2 weigh in and Joe Pacholec Sr, Joe Pacholec Jr and Reuben Bartholomew who helped tear down.